♦airy FAIRY LILIAN.' 9
* Did anyone ever propose to you, auntie ?' aska
Miss Lilian, with a naughty laugh.
' Certainly. I had many offers,' replies Miss Pris¬
cilla promptly—which is one of the few lies she allows
herself; ' I was persecuted by suitors in my younger
days; but I refused them all. And if you will take
my advice, Lilian,' says this virgin with much solem¬
nity, ' you will never, never put yourself into the
clutches of a man.'' She utters this last word as
though she would have said a tiger, or a serpent, or
anything else ruthless and bloodthirsty. ' But all this
is beside the question.'
' It is rather,' says Lilian demurely. But, suddenly
brightening, ' Between my dismal dreaming last night
I thought of another plan.'
' Another !' with open dismay.
' Yes '—triumphantly—' it occurred to me that this
bugbear my cousin might go abroad again. Like the
Wandering Jew he is always travelling, and who knows
but he may take a fancy to visit the South Pole, or dis¬
cover the North-Western Passage, or go with Jules
Verne to the centre of the earth ? If so, why should
not I remain here and keep house for him ? What can
be simpler ?'
' Nothing'—tritely—' but unfortunately he is not
going abroad again.'
' No ! How do you know that ?'
* Through Mr. Shrude, the solicitor.'
* Ah !' says Lilian in a despairing tone, * how un¬
happy I am! Though I might have known that
wretched young man would be the last to do what is
his palpable duty.' There is a pause. Lilian's head
sinks upon her hand; dejection shows itself in every
feature. She sighs so heavily that INiiss Priscilla's
spirits rise and she assures herself the game is won.
Suddenly Lilian's countenance clears; she raises
her head, and a faint smile appears within her eyes.